Monday, June 27, 2011

Scottish Salmon Fillet Wrapped in Bacon

I came across a nice piece of Loch Duart Scottish Salmon and I immediately had the idea of tightly wrapping it in smokey bacon. When it cooks it will still be crisp on the outside yet still be a good medium rare inside, perfect. This salmon will not need any additional seasoning because of the saltiness of the bacon, to cook I simply roll it on all sides while cooking slowly in a non stick pan till brown and crispy, I let it rest for a few minutes before cutting. I made a risotto using fresh English peas from the garden. Only a few ingredients and an hour of my time for dinner tonight.

Note: Loch Duart Salmon is a Scottish farmed salmon that in addition to being sustainable has won many environmental awards because of its aquaculture program, it can be found in better markets around the country.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Night Steak and Potatoes

Pan Seared Potato Cakes

Balsamic Marinated Rib Eye Steak

Meat & Potatoes with Purple Kale

A easy dinner tonight with the classic combination of meat and potatoes, just done a little differently. To start I boiled russet potatoes in the skin till tender then peeled and diced them, next I mixed with cooked chopped bacon (reserve fat) and herbs, the mixture was formed in ring molds, un molded and dusted with panko bread crumbs. Cook them in the bacon fat till golden, keep warm. The steak I eat is only beef rib eye, a good ratio of fat to meat which gives flavor and juiciness's. To season simple is better so just kosher salt and fresh pepper with a splash of balsamic vinegar then onto a very hot cast iron to sear, a few short minutes on each side and its ready. Charred and crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. To round out the meal and keep the doctors happy a little vegetable of wilted purple kale. Its all good and the meat craving is satisfied.

Note: Ring molds are like tall round cookie cutters, great for giving foods a neat appearance on the plate.

Shishito Peppers, A Real Japanese Treat

I was Introduced to these amazing peppers only recently and now crave them when ever I see them. The look of these mild green chillies are small and narrow with thin skinned flesh, great to simply roast and eat before a meal with your favorite drink. Don't be worried the peppers are very mild with a good peppery chili flavor. I roasted these on a very hot cast iron pan with a splash of olive oil and a clove of garlic. They can be found found in markets with a good produce section or ask for them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Now In Season at Your Local Markets

Parsnips and lots of Squash

A Mountain of Beans

Fresh Chick Peas in the Pod, Hummus Maybe?

Bing Cherries

It seems that now the rain has finally gone for the year and with the much better weather brings the start of the Summer harvest of fruits and vegetables. Right now I am seeing cherries everywhere from roadside stands to the many stalls at farmers markets.  The quality is really good and they are sweet too. Last of the the season fava beans, asparagus, artichokes are available for a little while longer. Stone fruits are also beginning to show up in time for the many fruit cobblers that are a Summer time tradition. Get out there and buy it now; we only have a few more months 'till fall begins.

Fathers Day Grilled Chicken

Grilling Salsa Ingredients

Marinated Chicken Thighs Grilling

Spicy Grilled Chicken with Charred Salsa

On this American holiday of honoring fathers I think it's a tradition to do the cooking for dads, but for me I would rather be in front of the stove. The weather today was simply flawless and after a afternoon sail on San Francisco Bay with the kids, it was time to get cooking. Yesterday planning ahead I marinated chicken thighs in garlic and dry chili peppers. First on the list besides a rum and pineapple juice drink, is to start a hard wood charcoal fire. Next when the fire was ready, I char grilled white onions, jalapenos and tomatillos, then I blended them with cilantro and lime juice. Salsa's ready. Next the chicken goes on the grill and slowly cooks using indirect heat so the dripping fat will not flare up and burn the chicken. When done, the chicken is served with pinto beans and grilled onions, very nice!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Freshly Made Mexican Street Food

I passed a small weekend farmers market nearby and I stopped to see what it is like. It is in a business development called The Marin Country Mart and it had a good range of different food vendors for being small market. I wanted to grab a bite from one of the food stalls and the Mexican food sparked my interest. It was a stall from El Huarache Loco featuring a few different combo plates and tacos with different meats. The price was kind of pricey but then I saw everything being made fresh to order from the tortillas to the salsas. I bought a Gordita which was a thick corn tortilla stuffed with crispy diced pork, crema, chopped cilantro and Cotija cheese, hot sauce on the side. It was really good and you could taste pure quality.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Peppers

Grilled "Maui Style" Peppers

Ready for the grill with a Rum close by

Ayala Cove, Angel Island, Marin County

Poor versions of this recipe may be found in some national chain restaurants, but I made a simple less processed recipe this weekend while on my boat. My memory of this dish comes from grilling them on my Cousins boat in Maui last fall, yes they were good and a very good memory. My cousin helped inspire my love of sailing and now its a good recipe.

After a windy sail around San Francisco bay and the boat safely moored for the night at Angel Island it was time to fire up the grill for a pre-dinner bite with a few Rum infused "sun downers". To make the peppers they were cleaned of the super hot seeds and membranes by making a slit down the side and scooping them out (note: seagulls do not like pepper seeds either) then fill the cavity with cream cheese or other filling (sausage would be good) next tightly wrap with a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Ready for the grill!

Just cook till the bacon is crisp while moving around so the dripping bacon fat does not flare up, they are done when the bacon is crisp, warning its a whole pepper that you are eating and it could be spicy hot, but you will want another one for sure.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Smoakville BBQ in the Napa valley

I have a Chef friend that just recently opened a take out BBQ place in the California town of Napa, yes that famous wine valley. He is doing a really cool idea of smoking his BBQ meats with used Oak barrel staves, not only getting the flavor of the wood, but of the wine that was stored in the barrels. Having BBQ in the Valley is a good idea especially in the Summer when you and a group of friends are sitting in a grassy field enjoying a bottle of wine surrounded by vines. Give it a try when you are in the Valley.

Smoakville, 1755 Industrial Way, Suite 28, Napa, California 707 363 3447

Cochon 555 in San Francisco

A Variety of Cured Pork Products

Whole Hog Butchery Demo

Packed House Enjoying Lots of Pork

A Big Hog Before Carving

After I attended and helped cook at Cochon 555 Napa Valley I jumped at the chance to attend the San Francisco stop of the nationwide tour. High up in a elegant downtown building gathered a huge crowd of pork lovers ready to eat and drink while promoting sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. Whats not to love about five chefs from great local restaurants paired up with five different breeds of pigs and five wineries pouring there best. I was helping The Whole Beast Catering Company prepare food to be served at the after party while the Chef/Owner John Fink helped judge the chefs food. It was a good event and the crowd walked away happy and with a few extra pounds.